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Fall recipes

Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sassy Side dishes Uncategorized

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Maple Whipped Sweet Potatoes // Karista's Kitchen

It seems I anguish over Thanksgiving side dishes every year.  

The question being, should I prepare the same sides as last year and make everyone completely happy or should I venture out of our “safe” side dish zone and create a few new dishes that will hopefully catch on and become new favorites? Ah the side dish dilemma.

I always try to set a selection of colorful and appetizing sides on the Thanksgiving table as well as sides that complement our roasted or grilled turkey.  One of my daughters insists on some sort of potato dish, preferably a mashed potato, and my other daughter would never let me hear the end of it if we didn’t serve apple and sausage stuffing.  Ranger Craig is big on veggies, so there is always a hearty vegetable dish of some sort along with my favorite roasted cranberry and mandarin salad.  Dare I forget the gravy and on occasion I’ll throw in a sweet potato spoon bread for good measure.

As my youngest daughter once said, “I come to the Thanksgiving table excited for all the side dishes”. 🙂

So in honor of the well-loved and obligatory side dish, I thought I’d share a collection of side dishes that just might tickle your taste buds and inspire a few new Thanksgiving side dish traditions in your home.

Maple Roasted Carrots and Parsnips from Alaska From Scratch

Maple Roasted Parsnips and Carrots from Alaska From Scratch

I think what I love most about these Maple Roasted Carrots and Parsnips from Alaska From Scratch and Perfect Roasted Brussels Sprouts from Luci’s Morsels is that they make a colorful and delectable addition to the Thanksgiving table as well as they are relatively fuss-free – which is a good thing during the holidays.

Perfectly Roasted Brussels Sprouts from Luci’s Morsels

Roasted Brussels Sprouts from Luci's Morsels

These stuffed acorn squash make a lovely alternative to Thanksgiving side dishes and can serve as a vegetarian entrée option for your guests.

Cranberry, Wild Rice and Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash

Cranberry, Wild Rice and Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash // Karista's Kitchen

Oh who can resist the lush elegance of Gorgonzola mashed potatoes?!  This is always the first of the side dishes to be passed around my table.

Gorgonzola Mashed Potatoes 

Gorgonzola Mashed Potatoes // Karista's Kitchen

Add a little light, fresh and sweet to the meal with this gorgeous mixed greens salad with mandarin oranges. A tasteful compliment to the heavier Thanksgiving side dishes.


Mixed Greens and Mandarin Orange Salad with Candied Nuts 

Mixed Greens with Mandarin Oranges, Candied Nuts and Parsley Vinaigrette // Karista's Kitchen

I’ve finished this round-up with one of my favorite sweet potato dishes, Maple Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Gingersnap Crumbles – you’ll find the recipe below.  This captivating dish often serves as my dessert!

Wishing you all the most delicious of holiday seasons.  If you have any questions, comments or need a different recipe for your Thanksgiving table, please leave a comment below or feel free to email me.

Loads of Love!


Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Serving Size: 4-6

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Sweet potatoes are delicious on their own, but add maple syrup, spices and ginger snaps and this bright orange side dish tastes like a celebration


  • 3 large sweet potatoes or yams (I prefer yams due to the rich color and smooth texture)
  • 6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground all-spice
  • ½ cup real maple syrup, divided
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup crumbled ginger snaps


  • Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Wrap each sweet potato or yam loosely in foil. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until soft. Remove them from the oven and let them cool. When they are cool, take them out of the foil and remove the skins. The skins should easily peel away. Discard the skin and place the sweet potato in the bowl of an electric mixer.
  • With the whip attachment, begin to whip the potatoes on medium speed. Add the melted butter, cinnamon, all-spice and ¼ cup of the maple syrup and whip until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl and top with the remaining ¼ cup of maple syrup and sprinkle with crumbled ginger snaps. Serve warm.
  • Notes

    Created for Home By Design Magazine Retro Buffett Issue 2016

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    Beef Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table

    Pumpkin and Ground Beef Chili

    Pumpkin and Ground Beef Chili perfect for the Autumn table // Karista's Kitchen

    This spiced pumpkin and ground beef chili didn’t last long in my house. It was gone by the second day and of course, that’s when I think chili tastes best.

    This chili is slightly spiced with cinnamon and smoked paprika, flavored with fresh aromatics, vegetables, grass-fed ground beef and of course, a good beer. It’s rich in flavor and hearty in texture and it tastes like Autumn in a bowl!

    Adding pumpkin or squash to chili during the fall season adds a festive quality to this dish.  Each year I experiment using different spices in my pumpkin and ground beef chili and I have to say my favorite combination is a bit of Korinje cinnamon and smoked paprika – along with my traditional chili spice blend.

    Pumpkin and Ground Beef Chili perfect for the Autumn table // Karista's Kitchen

    In addition to my lovely Karista’s Kitchen spices, which you can currently find in the Karista’s Kitchen store, I love adding beer to my chili. A flavorful pilsner, which is what I use, light red ale or cream stout are excellent beer choices for chili.

    Using beer in chili adds another layer of flavor and compliments the vegetables and spices as well as the ground beef. I don’t recommend using beer that is high in IBU (International Bitterness Units), like an IPA, because it’ll make your chili taste bitter. I adore sipping IPA’s but I don’t recommend using an IPA in chili.

    I also prepare a vegetarian version of this chili using only the roasted pumpkin and beans. Although my crew enjoys the ground beef version, they also adore this cozy vegetarian version as well. 

    Must I wrestle the pumpkin you might ask? No need. I cut the sugar pie pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, rub with a little oil and place flesh side down in a baking dish. Then I fill the baking dish with about an inch of water and roast at 350F. until just slightly under cooked. Once the pumpkin has cooled, the skin is easily removed and you can dice the pumpkin for the chili. Don’t worry about uniform diced pumpkin, just dice it up however you like and once it’s in the chili it’ll look fabulous.

    This pumpkin and ground beef chili is flavorful and satisfying and I know it will add a flair of festivity to your fall and holiday season.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Pumpkin Love!


    Pumpkin and Ground Beef Chili

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Pumpkin and Ground Beef Chili


    • 1 3-4lb sugar pie pumpkin(you will need 2 cups cubed cooked pumpkin)
    • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
    • 1 large yellow onion, diced
    • 3-4 cloves garlic
    • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
    • 1/4 cup corn flour or 2 tablespoons corn starch
    • 1/2 teaspoon Karista's Kitchen Korinje Cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon Karista's Kitchen Smoked Paprika
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1 12 ounce bottle of pilsner beer (or red ale/cream stout)
    • 1-2 cups beef or vegetable broth
    • 1 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 15 ounce can of kidney beans or chili beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 dried bay leaf
    • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
    • Serve with sour cream, chopped cilantro, green onions and cheddar cheese


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  • Cut the sugar pie pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Brush the flesh with 1-2 tablespoons of the olive oil and then place the pumpkin halves flesh side down in a baking dish. Add about 1 inch of water in the baking dish and then place it in the oven. You want to slightly under bake the pumpkin so that you can cube it for the chili. Bake the pumpkin for about 20 minutes and then check for tenderness. If it's still a bit hard, bake the pumpkin for another 10 minutes or until it's tender but still firm. Remove from the oven and let it cool.
  • In a large pot over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and sauté just until it's tender. Then add the garlic and the ground beef. While you're cooking the ground beef, mix in the 1/4 cup of corn flour or corn starch. Stir in the cinnamon, smoked paprika, chili powder, coriander, cumin, brown sugar and pinch of cayenne.
  • Once the ground beef is mostly cooked, don't over cook, add the tomato paste and beer. Stir until incorporated. Then add the 2 cans of beans, dried bay leaf and at least one cup of broth. Reserve the second cup of broth and use it as needed.
  • Let the chili simmer on low for about 30 minutes to develop all the lush flavors.
  • While your simmering the chili, peel and cube the cooled pumpkin.
  • Gently stir the 2 cups pumpkin cubes into the chili and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add additional broth if needed.
  • Serve with sour cream, chopped cilantro, green onion and cheddar cheese if desired. This chili will keep for about 3-4 days in the refrigerator. But I honestly don't think it'll be there in three days 🙂 .
  • Notes

    Ack! I completely forgot the brown sugar in the recipe so I've just updated.

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    Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Salad Sassy Side dishes Sweets Tips and Techniques VRAI Magazine

    Our Premiere Digital Food Issue

    A View to Delicious // Karista's Kitchen and VRAI Magazine premiere food issue Fall 2016

    I’ve partnered with VRAI Magazine and we wrote our very first digital food issue, A View to Delicious! 

    We’ve been working hard to craft a beautifully photographed food and lifestyle digital food issue featuring the freshest farm-to-table recipes, healthy lifestyle tips, articles on unique destinations that dot the landscape of this scenic region and more cooking inspiration, tips and advice from my years in the culinary profession.

    A View to Delicious is a little taste of what I create at home in my kitchen.  This digital food issue is a glimpse into where I live and why I adore my region of the world.  It’s also a little insight into how I feel about healthy and happy living and inspiration for creating life the table.  It also contains lovely verse and poetry by a few of my friends and lots of farm animals. Did I mention the farm animals?

    A View to Delicious // Karista's Kitchen

    Our premiere digital food issue, A View to Delicious, is available for pre-order now and until the 25th of September.  You can snag it HERE. The magazine will launch on Monday, September 26th!

    As I’m writing this, I’m filled with over the moon excitement.  I can’t wait to share with you the delicious new recipes and a peek into my crazy delicious world. 🙂

    I hope you’ll pre-order A View to Delicious and then tell me what you think when you read it. I always love hearing from my readers!

    Wishing you a very happy and healthy fall season.

    Loads of Love,



    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Sassy Side dishes Soup

    Red Curry Cauliflower Soup

    Red Curry Cauliflower Soup

    I could eat my weight in cauliflower and in red curry cauliflower soup.  I like it steamed, roasted, pureed into mashers, served raw with pesto or Bagna Cauda and in soup.  Who knew this opaque and not terribly attractive veggie could light my culinary fire?

    I think it has to be in the top five of my favorite veggies.  Cauliflower is versatile, affordable, nutritious and relatively painless to prepare, just like this Red Curry Cauliflower Soup. 

    Red Curry Cauliflower Soup // Karista's Kitchen

    This soup couldn’t be easier.  It also holds well in the frig for up to three days, as well as in the freezer for up to two months.  I love pairing this soup with a seasonal chopped salad and crusty bread or Naan for dipping.

    I also serve this soup as a starter for a dinner party or a light lunch with an Asian chicken salad.  And of course, you can dine on a bowl of this soup a la carte with your favorite glass of wine.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Red Curry Cauliflower Soup

    Serving Size: 2-4

    Red Curry Cauliflower Soup


    • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 large head cauliflower (about 2-2 1/2 lbs) stemmed and chopped
    • 1 large yellow onion, diced
    • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely diced
    • 1 stick lemongrass, halved vertically
    • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
    • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
    • 1 14oz can coconut milk (not light)
    • 2 cups vegetable broth
    • 1 ½ tablespoons Thai red curry paste
    • ½ teaspoon turmeric
    • Squeeze of lime juice to taste
    • Season with salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large pot heat the oil over medium heat. When it’s hot add the onion and sauté until translucent. Then add the garlic, chopped cauliflower, lemongrass, fresh ginger, cilantro and vegetable broth. Let the veggies and broth simmer on low for about 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft.
  • Next, stir in the coconut milk, Thai red curry paste and turmeric. Bring it back to a simmer. Let the soup simmer on low for another 5-10 minutes to bring all the flavors together.
  • With an immersion blender, blend the soup to a puree. If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer the soup to a blender or vitamix and puree. Then pour the soup back into the pot. If the soup feels too thick, add another ¼ cup veggie broth until you feel you have the right consistency.
  • Season with salt and pepper and then add a squeeze or two of lime juice to taste.
  • Garnish with sliced green onions or fresh cilantro.
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    Breakfast Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets vegetarian

    Apple Gingerbread

    Upside Down Apple Gingerbread // Karista's Kitchen


    When I lived back East many years ago, I took my then pre-school daughter apple picking every year.  We lived in beautiful New England where apple farms dotted the hillsides.

    Every year my little gal and I would layer up and slide on our wellies and go traipsing through apple orchards, picking the succulent juicy apples and filling our buckets.  I have vivid memories of my curly blonde haired gal bopping up and down singing and dancing through the orchards while picking apples off the ground instead of off the apple trees.

    Of course we never missed the hay ride and hot apple cider served at the barn.  I think that might have been my little gals most favorite part of apple picking.

    All that apple picking resulted in weeks of apple recipes.  Pies, breads, cakes, pancakes, waffles, baked apples, apple sauce and my little gal’s favorite, brown butter apples with her breakfast ham.  This was back in the day when I hadn’t a clue how to cook.  I faked it most the time and thankfully all that faking resulted in some pretty delicious food.  Which is how the brown butter apples and ham came to be.

    Upside Down Apple Gingerbread

    During one of our apple farm visits I found a little paperback of apple recipes.  I’ve used the paperback so often it’s now tattered, torn, splattered and sporting a few coffee spills.  I love this little book.  Written by a cookbook author and illustrator who hand wrote her cookbooks in calligraphy with the sweetest illustrations.  One of my most loved recipes in this book is the Upside Down Apple Gingerbread.  I simply call it Apple Gingerbread.

    Rich in color and flavor but not overly sweet, this gingerbread deliciously pairs with a cup of coffee or tea.  I haven’t altered the recipe too much, although I omit the cloves.  The gingerbread is so rich and flavorful I felt it just didn’t need the cloves.  However, I’ve kept it in the recipe if you’d like to use ground cloves.  There is also a fun twist in this recipe – a 3/4 cup of black coffee, which subtly intensifies the rich flavor of the gingerbread.

    Truly an autumn treat that makes you want to gather at the table with family and friends.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Upside Down Apple Gingerbread

    Serves 8

    Ingredients in order of use

    1/4 cup butter, melted

    2 cups sliced apples

    1/3 cup brown sugar


    1/2 cup butter, melted

    1/2 cup molasses

    1/2 cup sugar

    1/3 cup brown sugar

    1 egg


    2 cups flour

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1 teaspoon cinnamon

    1 teaspoon ground ginger

    1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (I leave this out but feel free to include it)

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1/4 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg

    3/4 cup hot black coffee

    1 –  10inch springform pan


    Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

    Pour 1/4 cup melted butter into a 10″ springform pan.  Arrange the apples and sprinkle with the 1/3 cup brown sugar.

    In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup melted butter with molasses, sugar, brown sugar and egg.

    In another bowl, mix together the remaining dry ingredients and then add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, alternating with the black coffee.

    Pour the batter over the apples.

    Bake for about 50 minutes or until the cake is firm to the touch.  Cool for 15 minutes before inverting pan and releasing the spring.  I baked my cake about 55 minutes.  The cake is very moist.


    Recipe from the book “Apples” part of the Country Kitchen Collection written and illustrated by Jean Childress

    Kid Friendly Pork

    Roast Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Apples, Cranberries and Shallots

    Years ago, when Ranger Craig and I lived back East, we had the opportunity to visit Plymouth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  It was an amazing experience each time we walked through the village.  So much fun in fact, that we decided to spend several of our Thanksgiving’s at Plymouth, dining at the plantation for  a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

    Plymouth Plantation looking at Duxbury Beach

    Our oldest gal Tink, was a tike back then.  She had as much fun as I did exploring the old plantation.  I still have visions of Tink dressed in her emerald-green wool coat with matching beret and bright red patent leather shoes.  Visions of those little red shoes running as fast as she could through the plantation.  Chasing chickens.  Yep, that’s my little farm girl.

    Plymouth Plantation

    One year however, we decided to give the Plymouth chickens a break from our curious four-year old and dined at a local country Inn.  It was one of the most delicious Thanksgiving meals I can remember.  A pumpkin soup that I’m still trying to re-create, a succulent stuffed roast turkey and apple cranberry dressing, and of course all sorts of delightful desserts.

    Photo courtesy of Plymouth Plantation

    I’ve always remembered that exquisite meal.  Mostly because at that time I could hardly boil water.   But truly, I was amazed by all the combinations of clean fresh seasonal flavors that were so prevalent in the delicious food.

    In remembrance of those days gone by,  I created this beautifully delicious dish.   It reminds me of the first Thanksgiving when new settler’s celebrated harvest.  And of course, remembrance of all the chickens Tink chased through the village.  (Notice this dish is pork, not chicken) 🙂

    Roast Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Apples, Cranberries and Shallots

    Serves 4-6


    1 ½ lbs pork tenderloin (usually two loins in a package)

    Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

    Olive oil

    1 large apple, peeled and diced

    1/3 cup dried cranberries

    2 tablespoons chopped shallot

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided

    1- 4 inch sprig of thyme, leaves removed and lightly chopped

    1 cup apple cider

    1 cup white wine (can substitute with 1 cup apple juice/cider or white grape juice)

    Kitchen twine


    Pre-heat the oven to 375F.

    Mix together ½ cup of the diced apples with the dried cranberries, shallots, 1 tablespoon Italian parsley and chopped thyme.  Add a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

    Slice each tenderloin lengthwise about ¾ deep to make a long pocket.  Season the tenderloins with salt and pepper.

    Fill the tenderloins with the apple cranberry mixture and then tie with kitchen twine to hold in the filling.

    Place the stuffed tenderloins in a baking dish and drizzle each loin with olive oil.  Then drizzle with 1 cup of wine and transfer to the oven.  Roast for about 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160F.

    Place the leftover filling (if you have some left) with the remaining chopped apples in a small sauce pan.  Add one cup of apple cider to the chopped apples and bring it to a simmer.  Cover with a lid and simmer on low until the apples are tender and the mixture thickens into a light compote or sauce.  Season with a little salt and pepper.

    When the pork is done, let it rest for a few minutes.  Remove the kitchen twine and slice into 8-10 slices per tenderloin. Transfer onto a platter and sprinkle with remaining Italian parsley.  Serve with the apple compote and a wild and brown rice or garlic mashed potatoes.